Review of Waterford Stanley Oisin stove

Update - Stanley Oisin, better than previously though

ATC 10 years ago

I am writing again, having previously written on 01/10/11, having had much greater experience of using this stove. I would like the admin to keep my previous review up to show the contrast that experience makes in operating a stove.

This stove is great value for money. Previously, I had used it and did not have any experience in operating a stove or in maintaining and building a fire. Now I have had it for around 10 weeks, I can say that it actually is very good.

The stove firstly is great value for money. It is Chinese-made, but with an Irish name. Don't let its origin put you off; I have found no mechanical or aesthetic faults with it. The only slight gripe one could justifiably have in this respect is lack of a formal air-wash system. However, burning the stove hot, and a wipe every 3 days (about 4 seconds of time) with a sheet of newspaper across the glass clears up the glass nicely.

I find this stove more than delivers what I need and so is exactly right for my living room (see previous review for dimensions). I have burnt this stove on just about all solid fuel types and, with a combination of smokeless anthracite and household coal, have pushed the room temperature up over 33c. This was several nights ago when it was 0c outside - unlike a gas or oil system, this just won't give up with the cold.

The key to getting the best out of this stove rests on two elements, one of which I touched on above: The use of proper solid fuel to maintain the fire, and the use of proper, appropriately sized kindling.

When I first bought the stove, I was all over the place with both: Sometimes I would throw in a log with firelighters, other times I would try to start with coal mixed with peat.

The simplest, and best way however to start this stove, and I expect all stoves, is quite simply with several sheets of knotted newspaper, on top of which should go a small amount of kindling (dry, and thin), with perhaps a small firelighter. The real trick however is what goes next. Coal produces much better heat than wood, but coal differs according to its type. I previously made the error of throwing on grade a anthracite smokeless. This is a great mistake as this can take several (quite literally) hours to get burning. I recently bought housecoal (the smokey coal) and I can have the fire roaring in 15-30 minutes, with maybe an hour's wait to heat my living room.

So the key to starting this stove, for me is kindling, followed by household coal, followed by smokeless. With this I've got the best temperatures, and if you follow this then you will easily achieve perhaps 6-8kw out of this stove. On this basis I would rate this stove quite highly considering its price.

A few other points. As said at the start, don't be putting off as this stove is made in China. It works well, and the fact an Irish company sells it on to local stove merchants gives you a better chance to contact someone from the company if anything goes wrong. Waterford Stanley even has a facebook page where they answer problems from customers personally, which is very good.

I would not recommend this stove for wood burning solely. I would not do this because the firebox is only slightly bigger than 1 ft wide, so it is a pain to put anything too big in.

Aesthetically the stove is quite nice looking when well lit up. There are a lot which look nicer, but just be wary about some of these. One often hears about 'crap Chinese stoves' as if European models are all fault-free. However, a cursory look about this site will reveal some of the real problems which are exhibited in some of the European designs (at 3 times the price of this). It strikes me that the Chinese make stuff for a functional reason then sell in bulk; the Europeans, not being able to compete with low labour costs, seem to go for supposed quality, but can often make basic errors with regard to design. For example, on this site you will read reviews of £1000+ 5kw stoves with small fireboxes, inadequate firebar provision etc whereas this is the ronseal of stoves.

I cannot comment on how good this stove would be for central heating as I don't use it for that. However, based on reading a lot of other posts about this stove, I would aver you would get away with using this for perhaps 4 radiators and hot water tops.

I hope this review has been helpful and I didn't put off too many with my previous entry.

Stove expert replied: Experience counts for so much when using a stove, you learn the best way to get the maximum from it so thank you for the updated review.

Overall rating:

4.5 flames

Build Quality 4 flames (avg 3.9)
Quality of finish 4 flames (avg 4.1)
Value for money 5 flames (avg 4)
Ease of use 5 flames (avg 4.5)
Ease of lighting 5 flames (avg 4.3)
Firebox size 4 flames (avg 2.8)
How well does the airwash work 3 flames (avg 2.8)
Controllability 4 flames (avg 4.1)
Handle operation 5 flames (avg 4.5)
How likely are you to buy it again? 5 flames (avg 3.3)
What is your overall satisfaction? 5 flames (avg 3.5)